Belfast Telegraph

Dad of drink-drive victim Enda Dolan backs 'name and shame' plan

By Allan Preston

The father of a Queen's University student killed by a drunk driver has backed radical new proposals from the Irish Government to name and shame all those convicted of the offence.

Peter Dolan's son Enda was killed while walking on the Malone Road to his student accommodation in 2014.

He said naming all convicted drink-drivers would act as a deterrent.

And he added that those who opposed it were insulting victims and their families.

His comments come after the Republic's Transport Minister Shane Ross announced his intention to bring forward legislation this year.

"We're absolutely committed to looking at anything that saves lives at all," he said.

Under the plan, all those who were disqualified from driving after being convicted would be publicly listed.

Dail opponents of the proposal insist the focus should instead be on enforcement, with the depletion of the Garda Traffic Corps requiring most attention.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mr Dolan gave his full support to Mr Ross's plan.

"I would be totally in favour of anything as a deterrent for drink-driving," he said.

"I think the law at present on both sides of the border is basically a disgrace.

"And it's also an insult to the people that were killed and the families that were left behind.

"At the minute the law and sentences for being convicted of drink or careless driving isn't sufficient.

"Low police numbers might play a part, but if the law is there and the marker is set down, even if there's a smaller police presence on the ground, it might deter people from taking that extra drink."

Mr Dolan said that while the media often named those convicted of drink-driving offences, a full public list would help to lower the numbers even further.

"I think any opposition to it as well is an insult to people like ourselves who have lost loved ones through drink-driving," he added.

Mr Dolan said he understood a sentencing review launched by the former Justice Minister Claire Sugden on unduly lenient sentences for dangerous driving was ongoing.

"We welcome the outcome of that as soon as possible because it's important the legislation in the north is changed sooner rather than later. It's frustrating that Stormont isn't functioning, but it's encouraging the review is ongoing," he said.

"But we need a minister we can press for updates."

Jason Wakeford of UK road safety charity Brake said he welcomed the Irish Transport Minister's suggestion.

"Despite decades of campaigning, one in eight road deaths still involves a driver over the limit," he said.

"Drunk drivers pose a serious threat and any initiative that could make someone think twice before drink-driving should be given proper consideration. However, greater investment in road traffic policing and greater penalties for those breaking the law are also vitally important."

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